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Letters—Iraq movement shows how climate can feed resistance

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Issue 2685
Protesters in Iraq faced tear gas
Protesters in Iraq faced tear gas

Thank you for your fantastic coverage of the inspirational movement in Iraq.

Iraqis have been marching in the streets and occupying squares for months against neoliberalism and corruption among politicians.

One part of the background to these protests often missing in media coverage is the issue of environmental destruction.

Iraq is located in one of the hottest regions in the world. Lower rainfall and higher temperatures mean that Iraq’s two mighty rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, are drying up.

Water levels are so low that seawater washes back upstream, which increases its saltiness. Along with pollution from industrial waste, this process is poisoning the water.

Animals such as the water buffalo, farmed for thousands of years on the banks of the rivers, are dying from drinking this toxic water.

And over 100,000 Iraqis were hospitalised in 2018 after drinking water unfit for human consumption.

These problems are compounded because the US and British invasion in 2003 bombed water sanitation centres.

The Iraqi government has allocated money to rebuild its water infrastructure. But too often the money has been siphoned off by corrupt politicians. Neoliberal reforms imposed by the US occupation has made this easier.

These hollowed out the state and sold off public services to corporations and businessmen.

Outrage exploded in the city of Basra in August last year, when ordinary people rioted to demand access to clean water.

For Iraqis, the water crisis has exposed the level of corruption in their country and helped to drive the anger of those fighting back.

For the rest of us, it should show how climate change, neoliberalism and imperialism interact to exacerbate injustice globally—and motivate resistance to the system.

Richard Donnelly

South London

Migrants just want a better life

Since moving to London, many of my friends are migrants (Boris Johnson announces racist visa plan, 8 December).

They are attempting to escape hardship and governments that are more repressive than we in Britain have the capability to even imagine.

Everybody is a human being with a right to a good life. If we were in similar situations to many of those who want to make Britain their home, then I daresay many of us would go elsewhere too.

The issue isn’t migrants, it’s empathy and altruism or lack thereof.

Jody Lundy

On Facebook

Train strike is a battle for us all

Disabled people support the striking rail workers on South Western Railway (Socialist Worker, 11 December).

They are fighting for everyone’s safety and access —this fight is everyone’s fight.

Without guards on the trains, disabled people find it hard to access public transport, be independent and live our lives.

We should all be supporting the strikers.

It’s a hugely important campaign as it impacts on everyone.

Paula Peters

South London

Learn French and build democratic struggles

Watching the huge strikes in France gives a sense of the potential power of mass movements based on workers’ collective strength.

As in all mass workers’ movements, there is a high level of democracy.

In many workplaces votes and debates take place each morning to decide on how to build the fight.

What a contrast to the extremely limited form of democracy we have in Britain, with a vote every few years if we’re lucky.

The movement shows a glimpse of a better world and can drive back the extreme centre of president Emmanuel Macron as well as the fascist far right.

And while not automatic, it offers favourable ground for the radical left to grow.

We should all be taking French lessons. Just because a government wants to attack workers’ rights, that doesn’t mean we have to accept it.

Huw Williams


Rejecting media bias against Corbyn

the Guardian newspaper refused to publish a statement signed by dozens of Jewish people in the run-up to the general election.

The statement urged “Jewish and non-Jewish” people to vote Labour to end Tory austerity.

Instead of printing it, the Guardian instead published articles attacking Jeremy Corbyn.

Socialist Worker’s article about media bias (11 December) was spot on.

Anna Gluckstein

North London

  • There are so many kind Jewish people who came out on the side of their left wing Jewish brothers and sisters, to dispel the smears, propaganda and witchhunt of Jeremy Corbyn.These have been spread by right wing Zionist Jewish groups and individuals.

They want to close down any voice that speaks out against the inhumane and brutal occupation of Palestinian lands in Israel.

Those right wing groups support the Tories.

They are supported by the billionaire, tax-haven owners of the right wing press—and to a large extent the BBC and Guardian!

Chris Howker

On Facebook

Don’t ignore poor places

The wildfires in Australia show what can happen when politicians don’t take climate change seriously (Socialist Worker, 11 December).

But there has to be more attention given to the effects of climate change in poorer places too.

Elaine Rose

West London

Corbyn should ‘drain swamp’

What’s stopping the red Tories within Labour from blocking Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist plans (Socialist Worker, 4 December)?

Nothing. They will use him to get elected, then call a vote of no confidence like they tried before.

Jeremy has to drain the swamp if he becomes prime minister.

Andres Viveros

On Facebook

We can’t take new recession

The news that another recession could be on the way is really worrying (Socialist Worker, 11 December).

Any new recession will be another excuse for more attacks on our living standards.

But for lots of us, who have less to spend than we did ten years ago, it’s like we are in a recession already.

Margaret Drew

South Yorkshire

Climate cop out in Madrid

Environmentalists were thrown out of the climate talks in Madrid for demanding faster action.

Politicians want to be left alone to come up with even more pledges that they won’t stick to.

Lianne Ridgewell


Brexit Party’s true colours

Ann Widdecombe using the term “golliwog” in the general election campaign showed the Brexit Party’s true colours.

The fact that she didn’t understand there was anything wrong with the word says it all.

Andrea Nixon

East London

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